Family: Former school bus driver acted in self-defense in deadly shooting

by: Dave Faherty Updated:

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LENOIR, N.C. —

A local elementary school bus driver charged with murder appeared before a judge Thursday afternoon in Caldwell County.

Nancy Austin's family members and friends filled the courtroom to support her while the victim's loved ones were in the same room.

The court appearance lasted only a few minutes, but Channel 9 could clearly see Austin look at several family members, including her daughter.

Family members said the shooting was a case of self-defense, but the family of the 20-year-old who died doesn't believe it.

Austin wouldn't answer any of Channel 9's questions outside the courthouse.

She is accused of killing Dylan Short Dec. 26. He was the father of her grandson.

Joseph Short showed Channel 9 the shirt he and other family members wore in court Thursday with his son's initials.

Since the killing, he got a tattoo on his arm to remember the 20-year-old.

Short said his son and Austin's daughter were in a relationship. The two had a baby together last year.

"This is my son, Dylan Joseph Short, and his dates and I will

"They were in a relationship; they were dating. They were at my house the day before and before that -- Christmas Eve and Christmas Day -- they were both at my house. They were in a relationship," Short said.

But friends and family of Austin said the former school bus driver at Lower Creek Elementary is not a killer, instead they believe she was acting in self-defense after Short came to her home and began assaulting her daughter.

"She's real good people, and I don't think she would do anything like that. It was over her daughter is what I heard," said friend Anthony Stevens.

Family and friends on both sides of the courtroom had hoped the court appearance would provide the one thing everyone wants in the case -- answers, but the hearing was postponed until later this month.

"I don't know why. I'm waiting. Today I was supposed to get some answers, and I don't have any, and I would like some answers," Short said.

In the 911 tape, Austin's daughter can be heard telling the dispatcher her mom shot
Dylan Short.

Sheriff's deputies said they believe they have recovered the weapon in the case.